Some months ago, just before Christmas I believe, our Haida Salmon village office received a telephone call from a woman who identified herself as an official with the US Environmental Protection Agency. She noted she was feeling somewhat awkward in describing the reason for her call which she said came about following the most Bizarre request she or anyone at the US EPA had ever received.
As she described the matter she told us of how officials in Canadian government offices had contacted the EPA and asked if they could help obtain information about the Haida Salmon project. They explained to her that they were “embargoed” forbidden from communicating with the company but that they dearly wanted to know more about what the village company was doing.
She and the US EPA thought this was so bizarre because like many they think of Canada not as a country that imposes such a commanding and threatening embargo on the exchange of scientific information. It was the science that we are involved in that she been asked to find out. A long conversation ensued and as she thanked us for the conversation and stated that she thought the project we were involved in was exciting and fascinating.
We told her the story of the cultural tradition of the village of Old Massett that to continue to receive from nature that the village had to give back to nature. We told of the plan of the village to become the stewards of it’s traditional ocean pasture and to work to replenish and restore that pasture so that the fish might have a pasture of abundance on which to feed and grow. We told of the stunning collection of state of the art scientific tools we have been using and the years of preparation for the scientific undertaking.
She shared her view that for the government of Canada to not have its own officials talk to its own companies and own citizens was truly what made all in the USA wonder what the heck was going on. She offered to try to talk to the Canadian government on our behalf and do what she could to help open up normal lines of communication.